Tag: blossom tree

BTfL Planted it’s 100,000th Tree – A Legacy That Will Just Keep Growing

Well we have been looking forward to this moment for weeks, months, even years! But 16-years-ago when BTfL planted its first tree who could’ve ever imagined that the small project working just five months a year every two weeks and only in term time could achieve so much, plant so many trees, work with over 7000 children  6800 adult volunteers at 325 tree plantings in so many parks and open green spaces across the city of Birmingham – well BTFL did of course!

As the years passed by and one milestone of 50,000, passed and then another and another we were always working to that magic number of 100,000 trees.

Our 100,000th tree celebration event took place in Cannon Hill Park, one of the most popular and best loved parks by Brummies, and brimming with beautiful trees – BTfL just added five more.

We celebrated with our partners, Birmingham Civic Society  and Birmingham City Council. Distingusied guests included, the Lord Mayor’s Deputy’s Deputy, Councillor Mike Leddy. Councillor Wassen Zaffar, the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, Councillor John O Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks and Katharine Merry, Olympic 400m medallist and former World No.1 and Deputy Leiutenant for the West Midlands, representing Lord Leiutenant John Crabtree.

Friends of BTfL, all the people that have supported us and helped get us to this auspicious point in the BTfL Project. All the wonderful guests helped us plant the first four trees by picking one of four tree photos out of a bag which deisgnated people into four groups. Then Geoff Cole,  Sue Griffith, Viv Astling and Simon Needle, as well as Steve Hinton, led our four groups to their designated tree for planting. The first four trees planted were Corylus allevana Contorta – Twisted Hazel, led by Steve Hinton, Catalapa bignonioides – Indian Bean Tree, led by Viv Astling, Arbetus unendo – Strawberry Tree, led by Sue Griffith and Zelkova serrata Green Vase – Related to the Elm, led by Simon Needle.

 

Everyone managed to help plant the tree, by shovelling in the soil, and bedding down the trees one by one. But please remember that all the trees we have plnted this year are also planted and gifted to the Queen as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

For our fifth and final 100,000th tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum – Katsura / Candy floss tree we all came together with Geoff  Cole leading the way and planting with the Lord Mayor’s Deputy’s Deputy, Councillor Mike Leddy. Not ony did we plant the tree, we also buried our BTfL time capsule, full of BTfL memories, including poetry, photographs, our merchandise, a letter outling our legacy and a letter to the future, writing how much we hope trees will figure hugely in the future whenever our time capsule is found and opened.

As we all took a moment to think together around the tree, it was moment of pride for all the members of the BTfL team passed and present to enjoy knowing that we have made our city much cleaner and much greener  filling it with beautiful trees and woodlands for every single one of us to enjoy.

As always with BTfL whenever we plant trees there is lots of chatter and Communitea! The only thing missing was the tea!

As we asked all our guests to join us for afternoon tea in the Foyle’s Room at the MAC, it was time for some speeches and some thankyou’s with three short films made, we hope in some way to sum out the BTfL Project and share a bit of the magic we enjoy at every planting.

Our guests watched while eating the beautiful afternoon tea and enjoying the celebratory pamphlet we had provided for them. Not only that we asked guests ot write, a message, poem, memory, or story for us to remember each guest by on a green leaf tied with ribbon.

 

Here are some of the messages –

BTfL, what a fantastic legacy, a tough act to follow and I hope 100,000th tree is just the start…, The best time to plant a tree was 20-years ago, the second best time to plnt a tree is now…., To the future, for our children and our chilren’s children…., Plant as many trees as you can evey year, save the planet, it is in your own hands….     

Speeches were led by Lord Mayor’s Deputy’s Deputy, Councillor Mike Leddy,  Cllr John O’ Shea, our Chairman Geoff Cole, who talked affectionately about the history of thr BTfL project, Deborah Needle and Justine Marklew, celebrting the 1000’s of children and adult volunteers who have joined us over the years.

Then there was a poem by Birmingham Poet and Children’ author, Mandy Ross read out to our guests, which summed up the BTfL project beautifully.

Birmingham’s One Hundred Thousand Trees for Life    by Mandy Ross

Read to the beat of this traditional counting rhyme?
One, two, skip a few, ninety-nine, one hundred.

One, two,                   dig a few,
three, four,                 plant some more,
five, six,                      seven year olds,
dig and delve,          eleven, twelve,
teens, adults,            plant in memory,
plant a forest             in the city,

ninety-nine, ONE HUNDRED…
TWO hundred…
and one, two,            dig a few,
plant the roots,         heel them in.
Winter coats,             gloves and boots.
Earth is cold,             sap deep,
roots sleeping…      waiting, dreaming…

ninety nine… THREE hundred!

Spring waking,         sap rising,
buds bursting,          branches growing.
Winter, spring,          summer, autumn,
bare, budding,          leafing, losing,

ninety-nine, FOUR hundred.

Alder, elder,              ash, aspen,
apple, almond,         pear, plum,
pine, poplar,             beech, birch,

Ninety-nine, FIVE hundred!

Oak and rowan,                   whitebeam, willow,
hawthorn, blackthorn,         hazel, holly,
cherry blossom…                blossom blizzard,

ninety-nine, SIX hundred.

For colour, for fruit,             for roots, for seeds,
for squirrels and humans, birds and bees,
for workers, students,          citizens, voters,
for a million of us,                all-sorts-of-Brummies,
with roots in soil                   near and far,
old and young                      and in between,
for a jubilee canopy,           crowning a queen – in green…

ninety-nine…SEVEN hundred.

For breathing, for climbing, for walking among,
at dusk and dawn,               in sun and shade,
for hugging, for thinking,    for meeting and greeting,
for napping under,               for hiding and seeking,
for sports and picnics,         nests and perches,

ninety-nine, EIGHT hundred.

In Brum’s north, south, east and west,
in city spaces,           empty places,
playing fields            and park edges,
housing land,            nooks and crannies,
sunny slopes            and quiet corners,
green snickets,         tucked away
beside the river,       near the trains,

ninety-nine, NINE hundred,
a thousand,

ninety-nine thousand,
nine hundred and
ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine…
planted here today, for life, for Birmingham,
one hundred thousand trees!

Then Viv Astling presented founder members of BTfL, Geoff Cole and Sue Griffith, beautiful hand carved wooden gifts as a reminder of and testament to their amazing achievements over 16-years.

 

Finally, Simon Needle, the super hero of the BTfL project looked to the future of BTfL, Birmingham Tree People. Trees and Tree policy in Birmingham.

So all in all a wonderful day in a room full of BTfL family and friends enjoying a very special moment together!

And as for the future you ask? Well the future’s green because for BTfL – it always has been!

Please view our album of photos for this event here

Thank you to Lord Mayor’s Deputy’s Deputy, Councillor Mike Leddy. Councillor Wassen Zaffar, the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, Councillor John O Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks and Katharinbe Merry, Olympic 400m medallist and former World No.1, Amelia Ladbrooke our Master of Ceremonies, Steve Hinton, the Birmingham Civic Society, Birmingham City Council, everyone of our guests and Geoff Cole, Sue Griffith, Viv Astling, Simon Needle, Stevie Prior, Deborah Needle, Fiona Williams, Cannon Hill Ranger Service, The MAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Mini Tree Champions Were Loud and Proud to Be Planting Cherry Trees in Balsall Heath Park

‘Are you ready to plant some trees?’ Birmingham Trees for Life asked 35 eager children from Anderton Park School. What came back was a very loud and very proud YES! Which nearly knocked us off our feet! That kind of energy we love! Not only that, teachers, Mr. Jarvis, Mrs. B and Mrs. Kaur were also happy to grab a spade and enjoy the sunshine and the tree planting. We had two year two classes, as well as four volunteers, Dave, George, Marcus and Pete to lend a hand as well. As always overseen by our very own Geoff, Viv and Debbie as well as the legends that are the Woodland Team.

  
The  ten cherry blossom trees were planted in Balsall Heath Park where a close knit community enjoy their park and use it every day. A couple of local residents were very pleased see us planting trees in their much loved park.

The trees can almost be seen from Anderton Park School building and the children wanted us to know that they will be keeping an eye on the trees, watching how they  change from their sleeping mode right up until February, seeing their spring buds in March and April and their beautiful blossom in May. Our mini tree champions promised to take photos of the lovely blossom and share it with us year on year. Knowing these trees are in such safe hands is a wonderful feeling. But only do we have mini tree champions, but our volunteers from a city wide removal firm promised to plant a tree for every house move they undertake – that makes perfect business sense to us at BTfL and we are grateful that Dave and his staff understand the utmost importance keeping an industrial second city clean and green!

The children worked really hard planting the trees and for year-two aged-six it was hard work, but their were no complaints just smiles and giggles as they worked in groups of five chatting and digging and scooping and chatting.

 

There seemed to be an element of disappointment when we had finished planting as if the children would’ve liked ten more trees to plant.  Instead we suggested love of trees doesn’t end outside, the classroom is a great way to celebrate trees to through art, poetry and story writing. Not only that, we began an impromptu maths lesson counting branches and working how ten trees could grow so many branches – when the conversation moved to millions and billions, we scratched our heads, gently changed the subject and stepped away from the maths!

As we said a huge thank you and gave Anderton Park School three cheers for all their hard work and enthusiasm, some children said they walked through the park every day to school, to the shops, to the mosque, to play or enjoy some exercise and that every day they would look at their trees and be proud – and we hope still very loud!

Please enjoy the photographs taken of this tree planting event here

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Blossom!

With longer days and more sunshine and nature slowly waking back up Spring has definitely-sprung! And nothing says Spring more than a beautiful blooming blossom tree.

Right now, we can all enjoy the spring time flowers on crab apple, cherry, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Rowan, to name but a few and it’s a joy to see them in full bloom. But it is a short and spectacular window as they don’t last long, but even watching a flurry of petals dancing in the breeze as the flower fades and the delicate petals fall is mesmerizing.

Blossom is truly beautiful and a spectacle to behold and is celebrated across the world.

In Japan Hanami is an important event centred around its much-loved cherry blossom trees (Sakura), crowds in their thousands flock to see the spectacle of the trees in bloom in March/April time.

The Netherlands celebrates a Cherry Blossom Festival. The celebration includes picnics with family and friends under the blossoming trees, with Japanese themed celebration of food and drink and the cherry blossom seen as a metaphor for life. Life’s new beginnings, to celebrate the beautiful things in life – but never forget their fragility

There is also the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, 1000’s of cherry blossom trees bloom and have been 100-years! And every tree a gift form Japan.

Every new tree planting season, BTfL will plant blossom trees across Birmingham with school children and volunteers ensuring Birmingham’s residents can enjoy their beauty and that Birmingham gets prettier every Spring.

And despite the pandemic we managed to plant 40 blossom trees in North Birmingham this month.

The trees were a month late going in, but nevertheless they were bedded down as part of the HS2 funding programme to plant trees in build up areas Birmingham so that resident can benefit from the improvement in air quality, flood management, encourage wildlife and make they area greener.

In the areas of New Hope Park, B7 5HR, Ward End Park,B8 2HB, Elliott Street, B7 5QS and Mount Street B7 5QT

Trees planted last season in Bournville Park are already blooming beautifully so this time next year the residents the above postcodes will be able to enjoy all the benefits blossom trees bring.

So, as a tribute to Birmingham’s blossom trees, as well as planting them BTfL decided to celebrate them in a small corner of South Birmingham, Bournville with BTfL committee member Fiona Williams photographing the trees and sharing them with our followers and readers.

    

The legacy of parks, open green spaces and trees comes for the Cadbury Brothers and started in 1842, when John Cadbury opened a small shop in Birmingham and quickly grew into manufacturing chocolate and in the 1870’s the brother moved their site to Birmingham building a factory called Bournville after the small stream running through it.

His aim was that one-tenth of the Bournville estate should be “laid out and used as parks, recreation grounds and open space, becoming known as the, ‘factory garden.’

Ensuring social reform for his factory workers, enabling them to enjoy good housing and a substantial garden to improve and enhance the quality of family life and no doubt hundreds of the blossom trees in Birmingham are another beautiful legacy eft by the Cadbury Brothers

From March to May we must make the most of blossom trees, sitting under them and admiring them so here are a few for you to enjoy before they fade by the end of May – if you see a beautiful blossom tree you would like to share with us then please send it to – justinemarklew@btfl.org.uk – thank you.

Welcome Sophia into the BTfL Fold

I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Project Manager working with Birmingham Trees for Life. I was excited by the opportunity to undertake a role where I could make a positive difference and actively be part of tree planting in my own city of Birmingham. Coming from a local authority background and more recently working in the voluntary sector I hope the range of skills and experience I bring to the role will benefit the organisation, its supporters and the local community as well as the environment.

Adult life can be very demanding, challenging and in some cases stressful but I found that taking time out to walk through the woods, appreciate the trees and reconnect with nature helped me to reduce my anxiety and stress levels and became an essential coping tool for me in everyday life, enabling me to function more efficiently by regularly taking time out to enjoy nature. I don’t know what I would do now without regular walks in the woods or forest and feel this is an experience everyone should get to enjoy. Of course there is so much more to tree planting and the essential benefits of trees but I thought I would share with you just one of the reasons I am so passionate about planting and protecting trees, particularly in more urbanised areas where there are typically less green spaces for communities to enjoy.

I have learned so much already from the team and Committee members but look forward to learning lots more. It is woeful that our usual planting season is interrupted due to covid-19 and government restrictions but we won’t let this stop us and look forward to delivering some alternative activities for this planting season whilst we still hope to make it possible to do some planting towards the end of the season. I look forward to meeting our regular friends and sponsors as well as meeting new communities and volunteers when possible.

Nick-Names for Every Tree at Bournville Park Tree Planting

The sun shone again for us at Bournville Park last week when we planted 10 ornamental cherry trees with Bournville Village Junior School. Bournville Friends of Parks and our wonderful corporate volunteers of the day T.A. Cook.

With 20 eager children and four brilliant volunteers from T.A. Cook, our corporate volunteers have been operating for 25-years so the company decided that to celebrate their 25th year they do 25 good deeds this year! What a wonderful idea! So the staff  voted for the 25 good causes they wanted to help. Lucky for BTfL were have been chosen as one of T.A. Cook’s good causes and we couldn’t be happier about that. Our planting event came at the request of Joan Hosfield, one of the Friends of Bournville Park.

Bournville Village School is right next to the park so the children walked over to meet us at the planting site. Eager to get going, a quick spade safety talk, the children asked all about the trees they were planting. In-fact they were so impressed by the trees thy decided to give each tree a name. Bob was our first tree, then came Alex, the children decided on a gender-neutral name for tree number two, then came Archie, Jeffy, Jefferina, Sunflower, Sparkle, Ben, Blossom and Sharon.  All great names we are sure you will agree. The children were very impressed that they were planting blossom trees and could enjoy their beauty each Spring. They enjoyed chatting about football with our T.A. Cook volunteers, there was some friendly rivalry when it was discovered there was a mix of Birmingham City and Aston Villa fans planting trees together. Worms seemed to be the biggest subject of the day, there were plenty of worms in the park and the children kept finding them, studying them, before gently placing them back in the ground. As we planted 10-standard flowering cherries on the left side of the stream, the children admired more standard trees on right-hand-side of the stream that had been planted with Bournville Village Junior School and BTfL on a couple of years before.

 

We were also treated to a visit from Liz Clements, Councillor for the Bournville and Cotteridge Ward. Liz was very interested to see what BTfL were planting and how we were working with the school children and T.A. Cook and Friends’ of Bournville Park and was thrilled to see more trees planted in Bournville Park.

   

Not only did the children enjoy planting trees, enjoying the fresh air and the wonderful tem work, they were great multi-taskers too, teaching us here at BTfL how to floss. ‘Floss,’ we said, we do that twice a day after brushing our teeth! ‘No, no, no!’ The children insisted, ‘flossing is a dance.’We were then, treated to full display of flossing from the children, while digging! After a five-minute floss failure from BTfL we decided tree planting was our forte – and flossing wasn’t!

Please check out the photo album here https://photos.app.goo.gl/kJ5TLr88933FQExN9